An Embassy Building as a Representative of one nation in another cultural area acts as an important social, cultural and technological link. Respecting characteristics of both countries leads to a symbiotic space. Austrian achievements in research, energy, and technology intertwines with culture specific Thai way of living and building traditions. Respect for social achievements in Thai cohabitation as well as the analysis of Thai traditional building typologies are the beginning of our design process.
The implementation of findings obtained about Thai habits into the requirements of a high-security office building based on European standards is the main challenge besides special energy solutions concerning weather occurrences like high temperature, high humidity, and heavy rainfall. We define as a common space the main courtyard with existing trees and shady areas for social interactions used by employees and visitors during performances but also as a protected area in case of emergencies.
Main traditional resources are detachment, natural airflow, cantilevered roofs, and shady trees. The topic of preventing the direct sun from the inner construction layers are integrated into several ways. The detached steel roof with photovoltaic modules protects direct sun to heat up the concrete roof. The detached Laterite layer with ventilating airflow keeps away heat of sunlight from the inner, prefabricated concrete walls. Existing old trees, which have a high value in Thai society, are integrated into the holisitic and sustainable design, used as landscape elements as well as for their shading qualities to protect the glass facades from long solar impact.
All glass elements perform high light transmission and low solar energy transportation as well as a high heat insulation value. We cared a lot about the right combination of these three values to prevent artificial light during daytime, protect the inside from getting hot and permit the building to cool down during the night. For energy production, the photovoltaic roofs work as a solar energy factory and for less energy consumption the fresh air is cooled down by the main air handling unit and sent to single fan coils. No batteries are needed as the energy is consumed during the day when it is produced. Used air leaves the room through overflow-louvers into the courtyard and is partly guided back to the fan coil in the suspended ceiling in the corridors.
The structural concept of the buildings follows the idea of sustainability. They are designed as concrete skeletons, filled in with local materials. The three materials Laterite (conglomerate stone), Teak (from state plantation) and Glass/Aluminum are perfect to realize our concept of a functional envelope. To the outside Laterite and perforated Teak create a secure but transparent surface. Glass extends office spaces into the courtyard and creates a pleasant atmosphere for employees and visitors, facing nature. Laterite, once used for temples, has an interesting appearance and wonderful natural red color. Perforated Teak wood, organized from state-controlled plantations, is used as an air ventilation element surrounding the courtyard and serving as a protective filter to the street.